From Here to There

Leadership, in its simplest form, is the act of moving an organization from where you are here to a place called there. It is the job of the leader first and foremost to communicate the idea that it is unacceptable, unavoidable and completely unconscionable to remain here as long as there exists as a better and necessary place to be. [Bill HybelsThe Global Leadership Summit 2016]

glsI just spent the last two days at a local satellite site for the annual Global Leadership Summit put on each year by The Willow Creek Association. Through the magic of modern satellite technology the summit reaches nearly 300,000 people in 125 countries all simultaneously watching world class speakers in Chicago teach on leadership.

The site I attended here in Ottawa held about 300 people and many of the other sites across North America would have had similar numbers. Some sites in developing countries were quite small, some as few as a handful of leaders in one room somewhere in the desert or jungle of Africa.

The GLS was founded over 20 years ago when a handful of church and business leaders gathered in one room in suburban Chicago to discuss ways to bring mainstream business processes and leadership techniques to the local church. At the time, Willow Creek’s founder Bill Hybels felt he had received a vision from God that the “local church is the hope of the world” and he wanted to partner with business to equip local church leaders.

I’m still processing what I learned and the insight from some of the leaders will no doubt form content for this blog and shape my business practices for many months to come. But today I just wanted to key in on one point from Hybels’ opening talk.

I’ve been a faithful listener to the weekly podcast from Willow Creek Community Church for about 3 years now. I’ve heard Hybels and many others speak on the topic of leadership in a decidedly religious context on a number of occasions. I knew what to expect from him in terms of his polished speaking style and clear communication but taken out of the context of a Sunday service what he taught resonated with me on a whole other level. Don’t get me wrong, the message was exactly the same as he preaches on Sundays. Maybe it was the fact that I was sitting in an audience on a weekday, wearing my business suit, and not listening through ear-buds at the gym, but the message he delivered on this day felt different, more profound, and way more powerful.

Here it is in a nutshell –

When you receive a vision for the future, no matter how big, how difficult and how far removed from your current reality, it is unconscionable (i.e. SIN) not to work towards it.

Talk about a kick to the gut!

To be honest, I’ve heard Hybels say this in the weekly podcast before but this time the punch landed – hard.

For me, 2016 has been a very difficult year. For a lot of reasons that I don’t have time to go into now, I have let my eye off the ball. I have not been doing the things I know I need to do to reach my goals in both my personal and business life. I truly believe God has given me a vision for what my financial practice could be but heading into the fourth quarter my top line projections are off by over 40% year over year and my marriage has suffered from a lack of attention and communication. I have lost my passion for what could be and in a lot of ways settled for here.

And let me tell you in no uncertain terms – Here Sucks!

On the morning on the first day of the Summit I got up early to pray. I’ve been doing that a lot lately and on this morning I prayed that God would use my time at the Summit to help me find a spark of passion again. Boy did He come through.

I had barely been in my seat for half an hour when Bill Hybels delivered the line that for me at least would shape the rest of my two days at the summit.

Here sucks for good reason. God doesn’t want me here he wants me over there, time to get moving.

I’ve got a notebook of ideas that I will be implementing in the coming days, weeks and months.  But the bottom line is I’ve got my passion back.  Thanks Bill!  To the Glory of God!




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